Thursday, October 5, 2006
County teen ministers with music
By SUE WATSON
Megan Tate, legally blind since four months after birth, is singing for her life and a music ministry she feels she is called for.
Megan is a 17-year-old Southern gospel music solo artist from Potts Camp.
She comes from a family who also has chosen to minister to others. Her grandparents, Linda and Larry Tate, evangelists, are frequently asked to sing gospel for events around Marshall County. They go by the name the Tate Family Singers.
Megan, who has sung in numerous churches in the area including Heritage Apostolic Church, Potts Camp Methodist and Baptist and Hickory Flat and Mt. Pleasant Baptist churches, to name a few, recently returned from the National Quartet Convention in Louisville, Ky, after finishing in the top ten solo artists.
Because of some technical problems with her music player, Megan almost missed her performance there, but with the help of friends, she did perform to an audience of 1,000, her grandmother said. And because of her performance under those conditions, there was not a dry eye in the audience, Linda Tate said.
The Melody Boys and Apostles Quartet offered Megan free studio time to cut a CD at Lighthouse Sound Studio in Little Rock - 10 songs - they were so moved by Megan’s talents.
Her grandparents call her a miracle and they hope for a second miracle - a music ministry for their beloved grandchild.
The Tates are retired missionaries after serving as state coordinators for the North American Mission Board, formerly Southern Baptist Home Mission Board.
“She’s a miracle story anyway,” Larry Tate said.
Megan was born prematurely weighing one and a half pounds and not having mature lungs.
She stayed in the baby unit ward at the Memphis Med trauma center four months, breathing with the aid of a respirator.
At the time, doctors didn’t know that pure oxygen would damage the retina of the eye, Larry Tate said.
Doctors warned that if she lived, Megan would be on a respirator for life.
After learning that, the Tates attended a special prayer service at Potts Camp where everyone prayed for Megan.
“The next day the nurse called and said she had pulled her respirator tube out and was breathing on her own,” Mr. Tate said.
“For a girl with no lungs, she certainly uses her lungs for the Lord,” he said. “Now she wants to broaden her ministry and go where the Lord sends her.”
Megan said her disability has been a positive thing; that never having had good eyesight, she hasn’t missed it. She believes her problem with seeing has strengthened her and drawn her closer to God.
Her goal is to do an album and release lots of singles.
Megan has been singing since age nine when her first performance was in front of 500 people at a mission banquet in south Mississippi.
Now she wants to sing more in churches, at festivals and for benefits, she said.
Megan’s all-time favorite gospel song is “One More Time Will Do It,” by Gold City quartet, the solo title she sang at talent competition in Louisville.
Not a music writer, although she has tried it, Megan sings gospel music written by others. She also likes popular music. Her favorite artist is Celine Dion.
Megan’s favorite gospel group locally is The Thomas Singers.
She is also a budding fiction writer, and is working on a suspense novel, “Island of Seclusion.”
A junior at the Hadley School for the Blind, Megan is studying for her high school diploma and at the same time enrolled at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., via correspondence.
She expects to graduate with an associate degree in theology.
Her other hobbies include doing medical research over the Internet, and reading mystery and romance novels.
Singing is first and writing is a second love, she said.
“I’m hoping to witness through my writing and my music,” Megan said. “So, when I have my reader captivated by my story, I will slip in a little witnessing there.”
Megan wants to reach a main-stream audience through her singing and writing.
“My mission is to touch peoples’ hearts through writing and music,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of experiences through my short life and they really have had a tremendous impact on my life and definitely brought me closer to God.
“I’ve been praying for a long time for God to allow me to fulfill my dream and I have a dream to sing Southern gospel music.
“Music means the world to me. Writing is second place.”
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